Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Pentagon grounds global fleet of F-35s after crash

Pentagon grounds global fleet of F-35s after crash

The US military has temporarily grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets in the wake of a crash in SC last month.

Although the Marine Corps is the first US service to fly its joint strike fighters in combat, the aircraft has been used by the Israeli air force to strike targets.

The three US armed services and global militaries flying the single-engine F-35 all made the decision Thursday to temporarily halt flights while investigators conduct a fleetwide inspection for a faulty part-a fuel tube within the engine-according to Joe Dellavedova, a spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office.

The jet was based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and on a routine training missing at the time.

The inspections will look at possible defects in fuel tubes in the engines and are expected to be completed within the next several days.

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According to the Marine Corps Times, "investigators. suspect there is a widespread problem with the advanced fighter's fuel tubes".

About half the F-35s are believed to have the faulty tube, and they include aircraft owned by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

To date, the US military has purchased 245 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin.

That crash came a day after the F-35 was first used in combat - when Marine Corps fighters hit Taliban targets in Afghanistan. "We will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernize the F-35 for the warfighter and our defense partners".

Now the USA military has purchased 245 aircraft from Lockheed Martin.

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One of Britain's new supersonic "stealth" strike fighters accompanied by a United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft, flies over the North Sea. If the aircraft has good fuel tubes, it will be allowed to begin flying again.

Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the F-35 program, said: "The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina".

Military officials said the inspections ordered this week are to help prevent any future incidents. The more complex Navy and Marine Corps variants of the plane remained above $100 million. It represents a step-change in capability but the F-35's complexity has inevitably thrown up problems. The program is estimated to have a lifetime cost of over $1.5 trillion.

The F-35 program is expected to cost the Pentagon about $406 billion for 2,456 fighter jets that the services intend to buy, according to the Joint Program Office. F-35s have already been delivered to the United Kingdom, Italy, Israel, Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Norway.

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